Stirling Albion’s U20 side were beaten 2-0 by Berwick Rangers in the SPFL Development League East on the Forthbank Astro on Monday evening.
Report by Andrew MacDonald
Andy Todd made two changes to the starting line-up who defeated Forfar last week, as the boys lined up in their familiar 4-2-3-1 formation. The visitors travelled to Forthbank looking to improve on their latest result – a 5-0 trouncing at the hands of Livingston.
Both teams started the match cautiously, as they tried to work openings through passing play. The young Binos didn’t create much in the opening 20 minutes, captain Ryan Lockie coming closest with a free kick won by Alberto Vezza 25 yards out which the keeper did well to tip over. The Wee Gers were much the same, coming closest with a shot that Lockie did well to block.
Berwick broke the deadlock with 25 minutes gone following a corner – the ball was swung in for an unopposed Kieran Jack to simply nod into the goal from four yards out. An extremely poor goal for our U20 side to concede.
Stirling looked to hit back three minutes later, as left-back Luke Martin drove inside, holding off his opponents. The defender reached the edge of the Berwick box, but his pass was over-hit to the dismay of his team-mates. This was one of the young Binos’ most promising openings in the first half. The boys closed out the half with a couple more half chances, as Callum MacDonald’s shot was saved before Kyle Banner headed a Lockie free kick over the bar.
Grant Rose punished Stirling for their lack of creativity in the 40th minute. The attacker pounced on a poor clearance, dribbled past a defender and stroked the ball into the right-hand side of Ronan Fallens’ net. Another avoidable goal conceded.
The opening period of the second half saw Stirling continue to spurn the half chances they had. Vezza skipped a few challenges before setting up MacDonald at the edge of the box. The midfielder cut the ball on to his right foot, only for his goal-bound shot to be blocked.
Top scorer Reg McLaren skewed the ball wide from the edge of the box, after initially controlling it and working space expertly. Marc Innes then had the best chance of the game for Stirling. A MacDonald corner was flicked on to Innes at the back post, where the midfielder took the ball down and saw his dipped effort shave the top of the bar.
McLaren nearly pulled one back in the 75th minute, as he headed Lockie’s ball into the box over the bar. The Black & Gold nearly made it 3-0 with a minute to play, as they worked the ball into the box from the left, only to see the shot blocked by substitute Brooklyn Mair
Overall this was a poor game of football, which wasn’t pretty on the eye. The boys look to bounce back in their last league game of 2017 away to league leaders Raith Rovers next week.
1 R Fallens
2 K Banner (B Mair 70’)
3 L Martin
4 R Lockie
5 G Stanger
6 M Innes (D Cumming 78’)
7 D Young (J Watson 78’)
8 T Evans
9 R McLaren
10 C MacDonald
11 A Vezza